Najib: Let authorities deal with protesters

Written by Chan Kok Leong, The Edge  

Allow the law to take its course and let the police and the attorney-general decide on what to do with the cow head protesters, said the prime minister.

"They (the police and AG) will determine if the actions were against the Sedition Act," Datuk Seri Najib Razak told reporters after announcing the winner of the 1Malaysia song competition.

Najib, who is the Selangor Umno chief, also expressed regret over the demonstration last week where protesters carried a severed cow's head to the Selangor state office before kicking and spitting on it under the watch of riot police.

The demonstrators, who claimed they were from Section 23, Shah Alam, were protesting the relocation of a Hindu temple from Section 19 to their housing estate.

During the brief protest in Shah Alam, the deputy chairman of the residents' committee against the building of the temple, Ibrahim Sabri, had threatened bloodshed if the proposed relocation took place.

Ibrahim said that it was unfair that a Hindu temple be relocated to their area, which is "ninety-percent" Muslim.

Earlier yesterday, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein played down the incident after meeting residents' representatives at his office in Putrajaya.

According to the Umno vice-president, the residents "had no intention to bring the cow's head and invoke racial sentiments or cause tension".

Although he said that the residents are not "going scot-free", Hishammuddin explained that the residents felt "victimised".

"The residents did not know the organisers and were unaware that a cow's head would be brought to the demonstration," he added.

Section 23 action committee chairman Mahyuddin Manaf and residents' committee chairman Zainuddin Md Yusoff were among those who attended the meeting yesterday.

Hishammuddin also praised the residents for taking "pro-active" measures to meet with members of the Hindu Sanggam society to discuss the issue.

Both parties are expected to meet again today before issuing a joint statement.

"If it can be resolved quickly and both sides understand each other, why should they be penalised," said Hishammuddin, when asked if action would be taken against the protesters.